Often I think we associate accountability with consequences. Think about these words…”I am going to hold you accountable.”What immediately comes to mind? As a child, that meant I was getting a spanking. As an employee, that means I am going to feel some kind of pressure. I think it is fair to say, when we hear the word accountability, we think punishment. But could it be that our definition is wrong?
Accountability does not simply mean punishment. Accountability is a willingness to accept responsibility for our actions. Accepting responsibility requires clarity in what is expected. If youth are going to be held accountable and parents are going to foster accountability, it is paramount for expectations to be clear. This takes commitment. It takes relationship. It is the responsibility of a parent to clearly communicate what they expect. Merely saying “act like a 12 year old” or “clean up your room” will always be unclear if specifics are not given. Think about it: what does a “clean room” look like to a 12 year old? If your child does not have a definition for what you expect a clean room to be, is it fair to hold them accountable to an unclear expectation? Because if it is not clear, guess what…you will have a messy room even when they say it’s clean. Or maybe that’s just my children?!
What area or areas in which you find it the most difficult to hold your children accountable?